We are less than two weeks away from the NFL Draft, and mock drafts are going to be more and more accurate with holes being filled.
General manager Ryan Pace is full of surprises, especially when draft day comes around. You really have no idea what he is going to do. With Pace, I expect the unexpected, so I have gotten used to it at this point. This means in mock drafts, you have to think like Pace does, which isn’t always easy.
I really enjoy all of the guys that I put in this specific mock draft, and I believe that it’s rather accurate to the way that Ryan Pace thinks.
Round 1: Pick No. 8
Quenton Nelson – G – Notre Dame
Ryan Pace has proven to be unpredictable in his drafts, but this year I believe that he will have to be predictable with this one if a certain offensive lineman is there. Quenton Nelson is possibly the best player in this entire draft, as he is just an absolute mauler at offensive guard. Some have said that teams should experiment and try to make him a tackle, but why try to fix what’s not broken?
Normally watching offensive line film isn’t that entertaining, but watching Nelson’s film is an absolute joy. His highlight reel is over 13 minutes long, and it’s a legitimate highlight reel because all of those plays on there are all actual highlights. I don’t think I have seen a highlight reel that good for a lineman’s whole career, and this is for just one season!
The way that he dominates every single game is just so much fun to review. He really is just a bully to defenders. The way that he can push guys around with ease, while also being athletic enough to go out and make a big block either on a pull or climbing to get a linebacker, is just incredible. One thing that he shows that not many do is just how intelligent he is to what is going on around him.
— . (@FutbolAlarcon) April 15, 2018
That is one of the many reasons I love Nelson. He shows every single thing that you want out of a guard, and that is why he is viewed as a top-10 draft pick even with his position. Some believe that a top-10 pick is too high for a guard, but when you can draft a guy who can possibly be one of the best at their position in year one, you have to consider picking them. With the Bears need for a guard to protect it’s the greatest asset in Trubisky, and the relationship with Harry Hiestand being his former offensive line coach, I think he will be the pick if available.
If he is gone, then I see the Bears picking Tremaine Edmunds, like James Fox suggested in his mock draft last week. A trade back is also a big possibility, as it may make sense to attempt to acquire more picks on day two to shore up more needs.
You can check out a more in-depth report on Nelson from our very own Nick Petrusevski here.
Round 2: Pick No. 39
Arden Key – EDGE – LSU
Pace gets much riskier with this selection than his first, and selects Arden Key. Key would give Chicago the opportunity to get possibly the best — yes, the best — edge rusher in this draft. Key was considered a top-five selection after his absolutely dominant sophomore season, after racking up 11 sacks for the Tigers, but a lackluster 2017 dropped his value.
When Key is at his best, he is possibly the best in the draft. He has that elite bend that caused us to take Leonard Floyd two drafts ago. He can beat guys on the inside and outside, making him very versatile. He really is one of the most well-rounded edge guys in this draft when he is playing at his best. Below is what Key looks like when he is playing at 100 percent.
Here are all of Arden Key's sacks from when he was fully healthy in 2016. pic.twitter.com/y51LKQzhwJ
— Ryan McCrystal (@Ryan_McCrystal) April 3, 2018
Many are concerned about what has happened in 2017. If you are not aware, Key had a down year this past season, he left the team in the spring for unknown reasons, and he gained a ton of weight while gone. We really don’t know the reason why, but he said at his pro day that he is being honest with the teams, but does not want to tell the public yet. The Bears had a meeting with him, so Pace knows what really happened.
Even with his down 2017, you can tell that throughout the season that he was getting much better. From the beginning to the end of the season, he lost a considerable about of weight and looked like his old self. If he can return to that form, I think Pace would kill to have that kind of player. Leonard Floyd on one side, Key on the other. Sign me up.
You can follow the link to the right to get a more in-depth scouting report on Arden Key by yours truly.
Round 4: Pick No. 105
Simmie Cobbs Jr. – WR – Indiana
With such a loaded wide receiver class, I think Chicago could end up getting a steal in Simmie Cobbs Jr. I remember seeing him for the first time earlier this season against Ohio State, and I remember him being the reason that Indiana stayed in that game. He ended the game with 11 receptions for 149 yards and a touchdown against a stacked Ohio State defensive back group.
Cobbs will be able to come in and be a great big play threat on the other side of Allen Robinson. Cobbs made some of the coolest catches in all of college football. I was amazed by all the big-time plays that he could make and fantasized about what he can do for the new offense.
Indiana WR Simmie Cobbs Jr continuing to impress after a big day vs OSU. pic.twitter.com/J0D6gnb7Z7
— Michael Kist (@MichaelKistNFL) September 9, 2017
With the loss of Cameron Meredith, Chicago will very likely be looking for someone to replace him. I think Cobbs could be a perfect player to have because of his size and ability to make crazy good catches. If the Bears got to take him in the fourth, Trubisky will have plenty of guys that can make plays for him, a big difference from the horrid offense that they had had last year.
Round 4: Pick No. 115
Brandon Parker – OT – North Carolina A&T
Pace loves his small school guys, and we take a guy that blocked for our very own Tarik Cohen in college. Parker is a big-time tackle with very long arms and shows a decent amount of athleticism. As a four year starter, he got consistent playing time and showed improvement throughout his college career.
When I say he is big, I mean big. The man is 6’8,” making him one of the biggest guys in this draft. While his kick slide could use some work, his athleticism makes up for it at the moment. He definitely also needs to work on how to use his long arms more effectively. He does not do a great job with his punch, but if he adds that to his game, it could make him great.
I’m sure Tarik Cohen is pounding the table for Parker, knowing that they were both teammates, and the pick makes sense for Chicago. Pace loves his athletic freaks, which is why he took Cohen last year. I think Pace makes it two years in a row selecting a guy from North Carolina A&T, and we get a tackle that can sit behind Leno Jr. this season, and end up becoming a great tackle in the future.
Round 5: Pick No. 145
Leon Jacobs – Edge – Wisconsin
Some people say you can’t have enough edge rushers, and I couldn’t agree more. I have been all about Leon Jacobs and had him in my first mock draft as well. I watched most of his games this past season, and you could tell he is a nightmare to defend, he is just an absolutely jacked individual.
While many watching were paying attention to Shaqueem Griffin’s 40-time (well deserved), I was going nuts about Leon Jacobs running a 4.48 at the combine. That is an absolutely insane time for a man that large. With his size and strength combination, he could prove to be a nightmare one day if he can improve his instincts. Until then, he should be a special teams ace, and still, make an impact at the edge position in the rotation.
Round 6: Pick No. 181
Braxton Berrios – WR - Miami
A second wide receiver being selected is in the cards for the Bears, so I decided to go with the guy who lined up across from Leon Jacobs at the Orange Bowl in Braxton Berrios. He can do a lot out of the slot position, as he makes some nasty cuts. He also adds to his game the ability to make plays after the catch, something that is always welcome in the Matt Nagy offense.
— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) February 27, 2018
He was a leader on this football team that guys followed, probably why he was captain for the return of “The U.” Berrios proved this season that he is not afraid to go across the middle and put his body on the line, something that is very tough to do with guys so much bigger than him preying down on them. It’s part of the reason why I love Tarik Cohen, he is not afraid of a single guy on that football field, something all players respect.
In the sixth round, it’s worth it to take a shot on another wide receiver because of all of the talent in this draft. In other drafts, Berrios would be taken higher, but he could fall to Chicago late.
Round 7: Pick No. 224
Michael Joseph - CB – Dubuque
I must put a fellow Division III player in my mock draft. I have been following him since the beginning of this draft process because his story is incredible. He never started a game in high school, but somehow ended up being a guy that might get selected in the NFL Draft. He is a project, that’s for sure, however, he has overcome the odds many times before, and I believe he could do it again.
Now I am not just saying draft this guy because he is a good story, I think he could develop into a quality football player. While he is honing his skills as a cornerback, he could become a great special teams guy, something very undervalued by fans. In the 7th round, if we draft a good special teams guy, I am happy with it, so I think we could see the kid with the unbelievable story finish up in Chicago.
If you have any questions or comments on this, please comment below! Keep it here at The Loop Sports for all your draft coverage.
Check out our other mock draft below.
Feature Photo Credit: University of Notre Dame Athletics